Category: General (Uncategorized)

Not Deporting Anyone Today

Last week, firm attorney Andrew Bloomberg handled his very first deportation hearing.

Andrew was more than ready.

While in law school, he had an internship at the Memphis Immigration Court and witnessed many such hearings.  He learned a lot about what to do and what not to do in such hearings.

While with our firm, Andrew has worked on many aspects of a deportation case.  He had simply never conducted his own trial.  Jim Hacking attended the hearing to make sure that everything went okay.

Andrew’s client was a young man from Afghanistan.  Let’s call him Rashid.

Rashid’s father was an Afghan government official before the Taliban came into power.  Once the Taliban took over the country, Rashid’s father was in trouble.  When Rashid was in grade school, the Taliban came for his father.

Rashid was the oldest child of six.  He was in grade school.  Rashid, his mother and his five brothers and sisters fled to Pakistan.  They believed their father to be dead.

Instead of going to school, Rashid went to work.  His mom worked too and they made a little money.  Just enough to keep the family alive.

Amazingly, Rashid’s father was able to escape from the Taliban and he was eventually reunited with the rest of the family in Pakistan.  They applied through the United Nations High Commission on Refugees to be resettled.  After several years, they were approved to come to Texas.

Rashid continued working.  His father was not able to work full time and Rashid was the main breadwinner.  He never went back to school.

Rashid’s longtime girlfriend and his brother both went back to Afghanistan to assist U.S. military by translating.  Rashid’s girlfriend sustained injuries in Afghanistan.

Rashid got into some trouble.  Nothing too serious, but in Texas they strictly follow the law and he did spend a few days here and there in jail.  None of his crimes were violent and mostly involved things like writing a bad check and credit card problems.

But the crimes were enough to bring him under the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  Rashid and his girlfriend were living in St. Louis when he got picked up by ICE.

Because of his crimes, he was subject to mandatory detention.  This means that he was not eligible for bond and had to sit in jail while his case made its way through the immigration court.

His family hired another attorney, who filed a worthless request for a bond hearing.  Rashid was not eligible for bond and the judge scolded the prior attorney for wasting time with the bond hearing.

The family lost confidence in the prior attorney.  They decided to hire the Hacking Law Practice, LLC, to see if Rashid could be saved.  They met with Andrew Bloomberg and he began working on the case.

We sent away for his immigration file.  We met with the family and Andrew began writing up statements to explain to the judge why Rashid might be eligible to stay in the U.S.  Andrew prepared statements from Rashid, his father, his mother, his girlfriend, his brother and a few of his sisters.

We submitted the statements along with a legal brief outlining our theory of the case.  Section 209(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that when someone comes to the U.S. as a refugee, their deportation may be stopped and they be allowed to adjust status to that of lawful permanent resident for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or when it is otherwise in the public interest.  We asked for a waiver of the crimes that made Rashid inadmissible.

Andrew spent a lot of time at the Lincoln County Jail where Rashid was being held prior to trial.  His family drove from Texas to Missouri to work with Andrew on their statements.  Andrew submitted all of the evidence to the Court a week before trial.

We drove to Kansas City and the family met us there.  Rashid attended the trial by video hookup with the Lincoln County jail.  After a few preliminary matters, Andrew conducted his examination of Rashid and the attorney for the Department of Homeland Security cross-examined Rashid.  The judge asked a few questions.

As Andrew began to call his next witness, the judge cut him off.  We went off the record and the judge asked whether everyone who wrote a letter on Rashid’s behalf was at court.  Andrew replied that they were.  He asked if they would testify consistently with the statements that Andrew had prepared.  Andrew replied that they would.

Incredibly, the judge then told the DHS attorney that he was inclined to grant our requested waiver.  The government indicated that they would not be appealing such a ruling.  The judge cut the hearing off after 35 minutes and granted lawful permanent resident status.

The judge believed that Andrew had established all three reasons for the waiver.  Given the family’s hard life in Afghanistan, the humanitarian prong had been satisfied.  As all of Rashid’s family lived in the U.S. and as everyone but Rashid had become a citizen, family unity was satisfied.  Finally, given the service that Rashid’s brother and fiance had given to the U.S. Army, Judge Salinardi felt that it was in the public interest for Rashid to be allowed to stay.

Andrew won.  Rashid won.  He has been released from immigration detention and has been reunited with his family.

We are so proud of Andrew and the hard work that he put in the case.  The judge called the family into the courtroom to explain why he was not going to make them all testify in the case.  He complimented Andrew for the “excellent” brief and evidence that he had developed.  He thanked Rashid’s brother and fiance for their service and he closed the proceedings.

Excellent work, Andrew.  We are very proud of you.

 

 

Can a writ of mandamus help in delayed asylum cases

 

Can a writ of mandamus lawsuit work for people who have delayed asylum cases? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know one of our favorite things to do here at the Hacking Law Practice is to file lawsuits on behalf of immigrants who’ve been waiting too long for immigration benefits. Typically, we do that in the citizenship context, so probably over a hundred people have benefited from working with us to file lawsuits on their behalf against the USCIS. The way it works is you file a lawsuit, you ask a federal judge who doesn’t work for the immigration service, who’s appointed for life and who is not part of the executive branch, to compel the immigration service to decide a case.

We’ve had people who’ve been waiting for their citizenship for one, two, three, four, five, even nine years benefit from us filing a lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit, it generally requires the USCIS to take the case off the shelf. For some reason, they’ve taken people’s cases and put them up on the shelf, and the lawsuit makes them explain the source of the delay. When delays have gone on for a really, really long time, the agency usually does not want to fight. They just want to move the case forward. We oftentimes get positive movement on the cases, oftentimes scheduling an interview or scheduling an oath ceremony.
We’ve always known that it works in the citizenship context. We’ve also had success, which you can learn about on other videos, when it comes to green card delays. We even had success suing the State Department for delays in processing immigrant visas for the spouses of US citizens. The one thing we’ve never done before is file a mandamus action for someone who had been waiting for asylum. One of the reasons we were reluctant to do that is we weren’t entirely sure, given the fact that the immigration service and the asylum office has so much discretion in granting or denying asylum, we were reluctant to file a lawsuit on the asylum front. We weren’t sure if it was going to work.

About six months ago, we were hired by a very nice couple from Syria who happen to live in Michigan. They had filed for asylum in December of 2012. They had their interview just a few months later, which is unusual, but it does happen. Sometimes, randomly, certain asylum cases get assigned very quickly to an interview. Their interview happened literally six weeks after they filed. The interview was in January of 2013, and at the time that they hired us in October of 2016, they had been waiting for three and a half years for their decision. They had done everything they could do to try to get help. They had contacted the CIA ombudsman. They had contacted their senators and representatives in Michigan, and they had made numerous InfoPass appointments, and they just couldn’t get any movement.

One thing to keep in mind is this couple had hired the largest immigration law firm in the country. If I told you their name, you’d have heard of them. They have offices around the country and around the world. I think generally they specialize more in business immigration, and while they did take this asylum case, when I reviewed the paperwork that had been filed, I didn’t think they had done a very job. Specifically, what I complained about was the fact that the statement that was submitted in support of the asylum application was all over the map. It wasn’t very focused. It left a lot of things wide open and a lot of issues for inquiry by the asylum officer.

I talked to my client about how the initial interview had gone. He said that it had gone very well, that the officer had talked to them for about an hour, which is also unusual, and that the asylum case, he was told by the officer, would be approved in a couple of months. None of that made real sense. Nonetheless, we decided to file a lawsuit. We filed suit in Chicago, because that’s where our client’s asylum case was pending. We filed it in federal court. We served copies on the defendants, and pretty quickly, he got rescheduled for another interview. That was last January. I attended the interview with my clients. It was a long day. My client had a lot to say, and they had a lot of ground to cover. They were revisiting and reissuing focus on the case and the questions that had been answered back in 2013, and they wanted to make sure that my client had not supported any kind of groups that the United States was worried about in Syria.
When the interview was over, we thought that we had done a good job and that we would be getting a decision shortly.

It turns out that we had to wait a little bit longer. Now, the defendants had a certain amount of time to answer the lawsuit. Typically, it’s 60 days, but because they were working with us, we had given them some extensions and were coming up against a new deadline. I got a call from the US attorney who was defending the lawsuit to tell me that, lo and behold, the immigration service, the asylum office, wanted to interview our client one more time. Now, I took this as a good sign, because I figured if they wanted to deny the case, they wouldn’t call us back in for another interview, but that’s in fact what they did. This week, we went up to Chicago and had a third interview on the asylum case. It was relatively quick, but it was about an hour long.

One thing the attorney had told me when he called was that he was willing to promise that we would leave the asylum office that day with a decision. It was a very stressful day for my client and for me. We went through that hour-long third interview, and then they asked us to wait so they could talk to the supervisor. They had a few more questions after that, and then we had to wait a few hours while they issued their decision. We spent that time pacing back and forth in the asylum office. It was back like when I had trial work, and I was waiting on a jury. I really wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. The officer didn’t want to come out and see us herself. She had the lady at the front window give us the decision, so we’re sitting there waiting for the decision. It was very suspenseful. I was very worried.

The decision was sitting across from us. I couldn’t tell what it said. I was pretty sure that it was going to be a denial, but the agent happily told us that our client had been approved. His long four-and-a-half year wait for asylum had been granted, that he’d been granted a parole into the United States, and that he was going to be treated as an asylee, that a year from now, he can apply for a green card, and then five years after that, he can apply for citizenship. This happened on a day that there was a horrible gas attack in Syria, so it only led more importance and significance to the victory. We were very, very excited for our client and his wife and his two lovely US citizen daughters. They’re not going to have to go back to Syria or to leave the United States. It was quite a victory, and we’re really happy for our clients.

Lesson learned. If an asylum case has been pending for a really, really long time … It’s not going to work in every case, and I would say a delay of two or three or four years is sort of the minimum before we file a lawsuit, but to know that the immigration service, the asylum office, and the US attorneys will work with us on asylum cases is a very valuable lesson.

If you have experienced delay in any kind of immigration case, whether it’s citizenship, green cards, visas, anything, make sure to give us a call at the Hacking Law Practice, 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, be sure to click the subscribe button below. Give us a like and a shout out on social media. We’d really appreciate it. It’s a big help. If you have questions that you want us to cover, just feel free to email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com, and we’ll try to shoot a video for you. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

 

Trump Administration Shakes Up the H-1b System

Over the past several weeks, the nation has seen some revisions to the interpretation of our country’s immigration laws related to the system that allows foreign nationals to work in the United States.

Generally, foreign nationals are not allowed to work in the U.S. without authorization.  The name of the visa that most foreigners use to work is the H-1b visa.

Federal law allows for the issuance of 65,000 H-1b visas to foreign nationals with a college degree in a “specialty occupation.”  Another 20,000 such H-1bs are set aside for foreign workers with a master’s degree from a U.S. institution of higher learning.

The H-1b system is based on federal law, as passed by Congress many years ago.

The President’s role in the H-1b system is to enforce laws passed by Congress, including the H-1b system.  The new Trump administration has made several recent and important changes to the H-1b program.

These changes will affect immigrants working in the St. Louis area and throughout the United States.

Premium Processing Suspended

The first change occurred in late March of 2017, shortly before the filing deadline for the next fiscal year of H-1b visas.  The Department of Homeland Security issued an announcement on the USCIS website that premium processing for H-1b visas had been temporarily suspended.

Premium processing allows an employer seeking to hire a foreign worker to obtain an answer in a few short weeks as opposed to waiting for five or six months.  Under the Trump administration, foreign workers and the U.S. companies that wish to hire them will have to wait much longer for an answer.

Mr. Trump made it clear during the presidential campaign that his number one priority was helping American workers and it appears that this change is designed to make it harder and more cumbersome to hire foreign nationals.

Computer Programmer Job May No Longer Qualify

On March 31, 2017, the day before next year’s H-1b applications were due, USCIS changed the rules regarding the availability of H-1b visas for the position of “computer programmer.”

The agency rescinded a 2000 memorandum that said that the role of a computer programmer would usually qualify as a specialty occupation and therefore be eligible for an H-1b visa.

USCIS issued a new memorandum that makes clear that foreign nationals employed as computer programmers, especially those in entry-level positions, may no longer be treated as working in a “specialty occupation.”  Because many computer programmers work without a specific college degree in computer programming, the job may not always be considered a specialty occupation.  Therefore, the H-1b visa may not be available for these foreign workers.

From the memo:

Based on the current version of the [Occupational Outlook] Handbook, the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation. Thus, a petitioner may not rely solely on the Handbook to meet its burden when seeking to sponsor a beneficiary for a computer programmer position. Instead, a petitioner must provide other evidence to establish that the particular position is one in a specialty occupation as defined by 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(ii) that also meets one of the criteria at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii). Section 214(i)(1) of the INA; see also Royal Siam Corp. v. Chertoff, 484 F.3d 139, 147 (1st Cir. 2007).

This is an important change.

Any employer looking to hire a foreign national is required to pay the prevailing wage.  The prevailing wage is calculated by looking at the average wages paid in a particular geographic area for that occupation type.

Computer programmers make significantly less than software developers.  The thought is that employers have been saving money and undercutting the American worker by paying foreign nationals as computer programmers instead of as software developers.

This change will require companies, especially foreign staffing companies, to pay a lot more to their employees or risk having their H-1b applications denied.

It is interesting, to say the least, that the Trump administration decided to make this announcement on the day that immigration lawyers and employers were shipping thousands of H-1b applications to the USCIS service centers for processing.  It appears that this was designed to harm employers who were relying on their ability to hire foreign nationals in this role.

H-1B Abuse Enforcement Announced

On April 3, 2017, USCIS issued a press release to announce “multiple measures to further deter and detect H1B visa fraud and abuse.”

The release is entitled Putting American Workers First: USCIS Announces Further Measures to Detect H-1B Visa Fraud and Abuse.

USCIS has adopted new criteria to determine which H1B employers and worksites are to be targeted for site visits. An updated website and email address have been implemented to purportedly make it easier to notify USCIS that H-1b abuse has occurred.

Site Visits and Enforcement

Since 2009, USCIS has routinely conducted random site visits of H-1b employers and work sites. Starting with the issuance of the press release, USCIS will ramp up the number of site visits conducted and The USCIS has been conducting random site visits to the offices of H1B petitioners and work locations since 2009. Effective immediately, however, the USCIS will increase the number of site visits it conducts and “take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country.”

The memo takes aim at the following situations: employers whose basic information cannot be verified through commercial databases; employers deemed “dependent” on H-1B workers; and, employers such as consulting companies whose employees will work off-site at another organization’s location.

USCIS also announced the use of a new email address (ReportH1BAbuse@uscis.dhs.gov) to allow American workers to report suspected H-1b fraud or abuse.  The agency also published an online reference page that lists other available ways that suspected H1B fraud or abuse may be reported.  The website also lists examples of the types of behavior that may indicate H-1b fraud.  The protections available to U.S. workers are also provided on that site.

On the same day that USCIS issued its press release, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice sent out a separate release that makes it clear that U.S. employers are not supposed to discriminate against the American worker.

From the release:

The anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) generally prohibits employers from discriminating against U.S. workers because of their citizenship or national origin in hiring, firing and recruiting. Employers violate the INA if they have a discriminatory hiring preference that favors H-1B visa holders over U.S. workers.

“The Justice Department will not tolerate employers misusing the H-1B visa process to discriminate against U.S. workers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division. “U.S. workers should not be placed in a disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims.”

These recent changes suggest that Mr. Trump intends to make it more difficult for foreign nationals to work in the U.S.  As a candidate, Trump consistently portrayed immigrants as outsiders coming to take “our jobs.”  These changes to the law may make it significantly harder for employers to hire and retain foreign nationals.

We will keep you apprised of any additional changes to the law.

Yes, undocumented immigrants do indeed pay taxes

In the United States, there are numerous lies, untruths and falsehoods spread by those that dislike immigrants.

One of the favorite arguments made by those who oppose immigration is that undocumented immigrants (so-called “illegals”) is that because they are here without authorization, they aren’t working, they aren’t paying taxes and they are just living off the government dole.

Fact: undocumented immigrants pay billions – billions with a B – in income taxes every year.

How is this possible?

Turns out the IRS wants to get everyone’s taxes – both citizens and non-citizens alike.  So they have a procedure to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number, to have their taxes withheld from their wages and to file tax returns every year.

Surprised?

Apparently, some Americans are woefully misinformed on this issue as evidenced by a recent brouhaha that erupted on social media this weekend.

Belen Sisa is an undocumented immigrant.  She currently is the beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program put in place by President Obama.  This means that she is allowed to remain in the U.S., to study and to work.  Sisa came to the U.S. many years ago with her parents and never returned to Argentina.

Last weekend, she posted a photo on her personal Facebook page.  The photo was of her sitting with a blank tax return and mentioned that she had just completed her taxes.

Then all hell broke loose.

Sisa found herself deluged by haters who called her a liar and a tax cheat.  Some folks messaged her to say that they had reported her to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for filing a false tax return.

Here are some of the nice quotes that Ms. Sisa received:

  • “You’re disgusting and I hope that you and your family will be sent back to the lesser country that your ancestors built.”
  • “Whose social are you using? Your face/clothes/car seems to be contrary to u needing assistance girl.”
  • “If you are a foreign invader you will be investigated and picked up I will see to it myself. Who am I you may ask? I’m your biggest nightmare … I am a governor hopeful and putting your deportation on my resume is going to look great on my accolades.”

Sisa’s post has been shared more than 2,600 times.

People are behaving horribly when it comes to immigrants these days.  This is another example of horribly misguided attacks on people who are following the law.  The haters need to relax and mind their own business.

Trump Administration Ramps Up Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

President Donald J. Trump has had a sting of failures since taking office.

His initial Muslim ban, launched on a Friday afternoon with no warning, led to a ridiculous series of immigrants being turned away at U.S. Airports.  Numerous protests followed.

The President and his Republican allies in Congress failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, despite Trump’s promise to tackle the issue on his first day in office.  The GOP has been promising to repeal and replace the ACA since it went into effect 7 years ago.

The President’s approval ratings are in the toilet.

So he appears to be doubling-down on his efforts to vilify immigrants, painting the millions of immigrants in the U.S. as rapists and thugs.

Last week, the President’s team announced plans to publish a registry of crimes committed by immigrants.

According to the Washington Post:

“Administration officials said the strategy is intended to reframe the political debate over immigration reform from what they view as a misplaced emphasis on the well-being of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants to the negative impacts their presence can have on local communities.”

President Trump brought the spouses of two Americans killed by immigrants to his address to Congress last month.  He has directed the Department of Justice to highlight crimes committed by immigrants when releasing annual crime statistics.

It is easy to see what is going on.

A President who lost the popular election by 3 million votes, who is wildly unpopular with numbers at historic lows for any President and who does not know how to govern has decided to continue his virulent, hateful and dishonest characterization of immigrants as criminals.

There is a word for this.

The word is scapegoating.

Federal statistics make crystal clear the fact that immigrants commit LESS crimes than the native born.  This is true even for undocumented immigrants.  So the President’s clarion call is a false one.

Alternative facts, one might argue.

Instead of being a leader for all Americans, Trump has decided to play to stereotypes, hatred and fear.

This has worked for politicians in the past.  It may work in America in 2017 as well.

Hopefully, not.  Hopefully, the President will tone down the rhetoric and recognize the amazing work that immigrants from around the world are performing every day in the United States.

From our perspective, we will be sure to scrutinize the President’s actions and report on the regularly and honestly.

Kansas City Schools Tell ICE to Get a Warrant


The Kansas City School Board voted last week to require Immigration and Customs Enforcement to obtain a warrant before entering school premises.

The Board is concerned that ICE activities at city schools would lead to fear and distrust with their immigrant students.

ICE claims that they have a “sensitive spaces” policy, but our office routinely hears of instances where such policies are disregarded.

Agents of ICE have been known to go to extreme measures in tracking down and arresting undocumented immigrants, often in front of their children.

KC Public Schools decided to adopt a Welcoming Schools policy that prohibits ICE officers from entering school properties or buses without a warrant.

An ICE spokesperson commented after the school board vote that “ICE’s policies preclude law enforcement operations or actions at sensitive locations such as schools, churches” and other sensitive locations, according to the Kansas City Star.  ICE reportedly only engages in enforcement at those facilities with prior approval from a supervisor or existent circumstances.  

This is where the sensitive spaces policy loses steam.  ICE simply gets a supervisor to sign off on the raid or later claims that an emergency situation arose, thereby requiring them to enter the sensitive space.

The School Board acted after finding that ICE enforcement at schools or on buses “significantly disrupt the school environment, interrupt learning, impede the safety and security of the school environment, and infringe on students’ rights to free access to public education.”

With the election of Donald Trump and his appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, immigrants around the country are increasingly nervous of enforcement.  Specifically, they worry about ICE overreach and the increase in raids promised by immigration hardliners.

Despite the fact that Barack Obama’s administration deported more immigrants than any President in United States History is often ignored in the immigration debate.  

President Trump has made the scapegoating of immigrants a central theme of his administration, going so far as to create a list of alleged crimes committed by immigrants.

U.S. Army Veteran to be Deported

Miguel Perez is not a U.S. Citizen.

His two children are.

Despite this, he is scheduled to be deported due to a conviction for selling drugs.

Perez served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

He enlisted for not one, but two, tours.  According to his family, Perez “was blown out of his Jeep in Kandahar” and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the blast.

He suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He started self-medicating with alcohol and he then turned to drugs.  That led to the selling of drugs.

Sadly, he had the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen after serving in the Army, but he didn’t understand how the process worked.  He thought that simply serving in the military resulted in him automatically becoming a U.S. citizen.

America has done a poor job of taking care of the women and men who fought in George Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/. Problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs are legendary.

We provide little funding for treating the psychological injuries of war.

But when a man or a woman volunteers to pickup a gun and defend this country, we should be there for that soldier when they return.  If they make a mistake and commit a crime, go ahead and punish them.

But in this huge political push to see who can out-tough other politicians when it comes to immigrants, real people get caught up in the system.

We abandoned this man to the streets after he fought for us. This is deplorable what the government is now trying to do.

We believe that if you serve our nation honorably and come back to the United States that you should not be deported. A black letter rule that would prohibit us from deporting women and men who put on our country’s uniform.

Miguel Perez is running out of options. He has already been ordered de-or Ted by the immigration judge.  He is seeking relief in the Board of Immigration Appeals and has asked for members of Congress to assist him.

Will we leave this blood brother behind?  After what we a

Lawsuit Pays Off For Detroit Green Card Holder

This is our client, Bhavin.

Bhavin was born in India and came to the U.S. to study.

He is an engineer and works for Ford Motor Company. Bhavin lives near Detroit, Michigan.

Bhavin obtained lawful permanent resident status many years ago through his family.

In the summer of 2015, Bhavin filed an N-400 naturalization application with USCIS.

He underwent fingerprinting and biometrics at the Detroit USCIS Application Support Center.

Then he waited for his interview.

And waited. And waited. And waited some more.

He did everything that he could do to follow up with USCIS to see why his case had been delayed.

No one would give him a straight answer.

Bhavin went to InfoPass appointments at USCIS. That didn’t work.

Bhavin asked for members of Congress to help. That didn’t work, either.

Bhavin asked for the USCIS Ombudsman, who is supposed to be the consumer advocate at USCIS to intervene. Still that didn’t work.

Frustrated, Bhavin did not know what to do.

After waiting over 15 months and running out options, he took to the internet.

He found a forum on a website called Trackitt. This website allows people with similar problems to talk about them online and to post about possible solutions.

Bhavin found some references to a crazy immigration law firm in St. Louis that helps people whose immigration cases have been unfairly delayed.

He scheduled a Skype consultation with attorney Jim Hacking of our office.

Bhavin decided to sue USCIS after meeting with Mr. Hacking.

That was six weeks ago.

Today, Bhavin had his naturalization interview at the Detroit field office of USCIS.

The interview lasted about 30 minutes. Mr. Hacking flew in from St. Louis for the interview.

Everything went well and Bhavin was approved on the spot.

His oath ceremony is scheduled for one week from now.

Congratulations, Bhavin!

Big Win at Immigration for Happily Married Couple

When a US citizen marries a foreign national, they can sponsor their spouse for a green card.

If the couple has been married less than two years when the green card is approved, then the foreign national only receives a two-year, temporary green card.

Before the 2-year green card expires, the couple must submit a form called an I-751 form to the immigration service. They have to demonstrate that they are still married and the marriage is real.

If the couple fails to submit this form, the foreign national can lose their status and even end up in deportation proceedings.

Early last year, our law firm was hired to represent a U.S. citizen and his wife. They are both originally from Kosovo.

They have three children and they have lived together every day since they were married.

This couple did file the I 751 on time, but they failed to respond to a request for additional evidence from USCIS. As a result, USCIS denied their I-751 petition.

This couple happens to be members of the Islamic faith. They dress in traditional Muslim garb. S it is not entirely surprising that USCIS sent the woman to deportation court.

This is a bit upsetting, however, given the fact that we have had many clients who come to see us after having not filed there I 751 on time, but without ever being placed in removal. We had a Canadian client who filed it nine years late and he was not placed into removal.

To the best of our recollection, this is the only couple that we have ever had actually sent to deportation for this failure to follow the rules.

After the deportation proceedings began, the couple hired us to try and help.

We filed a new i-751 and submitted a lot of evidence that the couple is still married. The best evidence, of course, is the fact that they have 3 U.S. citizen children between them.

The immigration judge put the deportation case on hold while USCIS decided what to do with the new submission from our office. Last week, we went to a 10 minute interview at the St.Louis field office of USCIS and the case was approved on the spot by one of the supervisors.

We will now be able to take that approval notice and get the deportation case stopped.

We are very happy for a client, especially the wife who has been afraid to go visit her mother back home because of the pending deportation case. Now, she will be able to go visit her family. Our client is also eligible to apply for citizenship now.

February 2, 2017 – USCIS Guidance Concerning Executive Order on Immigration

In light of President Trump’s Executive Order of January 27, 2017, it was unclear as to whether USCIS would stop processing all applications for people from the 7 affected countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

USCIS Acting Director Lori Scialabba issued a memorandum on February 2, 2017, to clarify the processing of cases for people who are in the United States presently and are from one of the 7 countries.

You can read the memorandum here.  It is good news, for the most part.

1) The travel ban in the Executive Order will not impact processing of the vast majority of cases by USCIS, even if the individual comes form one of the countries effected.  This includes the cases of individuals outside of the United States with the exception of some applications where USCIS approval automatically involves the applicant being granted permission to travel – USCIS will not approve those cases. Examples of applications USCIS may approve if the person is outside the United States and is from one of the effected countries include fiance petitions and I-130s.
2) Applications to register permanent residence or adjust status (applications for green cards) will continue to be processed normally regardless of the applicant’s country of origin.
3) Applications for the relatives of refugees or individuals who have already been granted asylum will be processed as normal, as long as the refugee or person granted asylum is inside the United States.
4) Where an individual is a religious minority suffering persecution in their country of origin, or where there is an already existing agreement on refugee processing, USCIS will continue interviews.
5) All asylum cases filed outside of immigration court will continue to be processed as normal.
Note: this memo does not affect the processing of visas by the State Department and U.S. embassies.  It appears that all of those applications have been paused in light of the Trump EO.